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Applesauce adds goodness, cuts fat

Recipe: Healthy muffins are less messy, too

Muffin pan with muffins in green, yellow, blue cups
Applesauce muffins, fresh from the oven, make a healthy snack or breakfast bread.
(Photos: Debbie Arrington)

 Muffins were made for breakfast on the go. They're just as perfect for afternoon snacking. Why? Those carbohydrates offer a quick energy boost.

This recipe substitutes applesauce for milk and most of the oil, cutting down on fat while adding more good-for-you nutrients.

These easy muffins have a baking powder biscuit-like texture and smell delicious while baking. When cut, they don't fall apart into a bunch of crumbs, making these muffins less messy, too.

3 muffins on a yellow plate
They look yummy and smell delicious.
Applesauce muffins
Makes 12 large muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup raisins
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup applesauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Demerara sugar (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin. Lightly grease cups or use silicon cup liners.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Stir in raisins.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Blend in brown sugar. Add applesauce, then cooking oil and vanilla.
Make a well in the dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. With a wooden spoon, stir until just blended. Don't overwork batter.
Spoon batter into prepared cups of muffin tin. For large muffins, fill cups about 3/4 full. If desired, sprinkle Demerara sugar or additional brown sugar on top of each muffin. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown; a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cool a few minutes before removing from tin. Best served warm.
Split muffins on yellow plate
The muffins feature raisins, but dried cranberries or
currants work just as well.

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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